Back to Top

City Issues Quality of Life

Although the City has about 14,000 residents, there's another 16,000 people on the island and 1.4 million tourists visit the City annually.

We have six miles of beaches with 40 beach walkovers, miles of precious tree canopy, marshes, wildlife and hiking trails, an historic downtown, an airport, a marina, a golf course, a cemetery, a lighthouse, 13 parks and numerous City buildings. There's also an independent port and exploding residential and commercial developments over the Shave Bridge. 

That's a lot to take care of and plan for. 

ISSUE: Protecting Trees, marshes, wetlands and wildlife

    Despite strengthening the City's Tree Protection Ordinance, we are losing the fight to maintain our valuable tree canopy. Wetlands and natural habitats are also under attack by developers looking for profits over the Quality of Life on Amelia Island.

   Recently the state undercut our "Home Rule" authority allowing unscrupulous tree removal companies in the City allowing them to cut down healthy oaks without any penalties. The City recently passed a "no solicitation" ordinance to block these companies from operating on the island.

   The City is also enacting measures to be vigilant in safeguarding trees on construction sites.

   Under the City's Land Development Code, all wetlands are protected. 

 

ISSUE: Conservation

  When I was elected in 2018, there was about 900+ acres of undeveloped property in the City. In my 3+ years on the Commission, we've been able to place 30 crucial acres of land into conservation.

   We also enacted an ordinance protecting all recreational property (including the 166 acres of the golf course) from developers requiring a super majority vote (5-0) of the City Commission followed by a ballot referendum that would need 75% approval for the sale of any of these properties. 

   Preserving beautiful and important parcels in the City for future generations remains among my top priorities. 

ISSUE: The City's Economic Model

For decades, the City has relied on property taxes to fund the operations of the city and pay for improvements to roads, buildings, parks, the marina, etc.

Past City Commissions have also "kicked the can down the road" on budgeting for maintenance and upgrades to those same assets.

The result is the City is now in a severe economic hole that is no longer sustainable with property taxes alone. That means non-city residents (county and tourists) must begin to pay for the city assets and services that they use.

The Historic Downtown needs a $20 million facelift. The river seawall project requires another $10 million. Buildings, including City Hall, need $6 million in repairs. Parks and recreational fields need $4 million. Beach walkovers another $4 million.

City revenues must be expanded by having the 1.4 million tourists and non-City Nassau County residents paying their fair share.  

ISSUE: Residential development 

After three years-plus years on the City Commission, the reality is there's more people both on the island and over the Shave Bridge in Nassau County.

And, it's going to get worse. Nassau County just approved 14,000 new homes for construction in Wildlight.

In Fernandina Beach, developers are using new strategies in trying to build more residential units. One is to seek City rezoning of property from commercial or industrial into residential or multi-use. Since I was elected in 2018, I have opposed every rezoning attempt by developers to add more residential units.

I support property rights and if a land owner has a tract zoned residential they have every right to build on the land. 

Rezoning, however, is a different animal.

The second developer strategy is to purchase an existing residential lot and then bulldoze the home on the property. In its place, developers are putting townhouses. It's all legal if the zoning is MU (mixed use) and there is nothing the City Commission can do to change it.

ISSUE: STORMS & FLOODING

 Each year flooding is more severe in the City than in years past. Nor’easters, “king tides,” and very rainy periods now flood Front Street with water hitting historic downtown shops and restaurants.

To combat flooding, I'm pleased to report that Phase 1 of the City's riverfront shoreline resiliency project has just been completed. The $2.5 million project included a concrete seawall, a living shoreline and boardwalk components at Parking Lots C and D just south of the City Marina Boat ramp.

But there's a lot more to be done. Completion of a new seawall all the way to the City property at 101 N. Front Street will require at least another $8 million to complete. We're aggressively pursuing Federal and State grants to help finance the completion of the project. 

 

ISSUE: TRAFFIC CONGESTION

We're losing the traffic wars with more and more vehicles crossing over the Shave Bridge daily onto Amelia Island.

Part of the problem is having a six lane highway that is funneling traffic onto a 4-lane bridge. That bottleneck is creating traffic jams in the morning and afternoons for arriving and departing vehicles.

One solution, is build a new bridge. That would costs millions and need to be funded by the state.

Another solution is to create a Park & Ride transit system connecting West Nassau County with the island. Such a system would reduce the number of cars on the highway. I'm part of a Chamber of Commerce, County and City task force exploring such a system.


Committee to Elect MIKE LEDNOVICH
Powered by CampaignPartner.com - Political Campaign Websites
Close Menu